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Books: Dirty Book of the Month

2 minute read

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS by Jacqueline Susann. 442 pages. Bernard Geis. $5.95.

“An hour later Jennifer was still wide awake. This was going to be another of those nights. She got out of bed, went to her bag, took out the small bottle and stared at the tiny, bullet-shaped red capsules. Seconals. Should she try one? She felt her heart pound, but she swallowed it and rushed into bed. Then she felt it! Oh, God! It was glorious! Her whole body felt weightless. Her head was heavy, yet light as air. She was going to sleep . . . sleep . . . oh, the beautiful little red doll!”

Next morning Jennifer awoke refreshed and radiantly ready for another day of drudgery in the tinsel mines. Show business was her life, but it was a life that ran a girl ragged. The little red dolls were just what the doctor ordered for her insomnia, and so the next night she took another one to bed with her, and the night after that another. Within a year she was up to three, four, five a night. Sometimes she threw in a couple of yellow dolls, just to make sure, and in the morning she swallowed a green doll to wake her up. Pretty soon she started passing the pills out to her actress friends, and before long all the leading ladies in this book are absorbing Seconal by the shovelful. Life turns into a barbituratrace that is bound to come to a bad end. One of Jennifer’s friends winds up in a funny farm, and eventually, of course, Jennifer herself dies of an overdose.

What is all this—a cautionary tale about the dangers of sedation or just one more peeping tome about show business? Certainly the latter, though it was written by a TV actress, Jacqueline Susann, who insists that the book is practically a kinescope of show-business life as she has seen it lived. If so, it would seem that Author Susann has spent most of her time watching people swallow Seconal, slurp Scotch and commit sodomy. Somebody does one or the other on almost every page, and a large crowd has gathered to watch the exhibition. Dolls is firmly established on all bestseller lists, and has been widely acclaimed as the Dirty Book of the Month. It might more accurately be described as a highly effective sedative, a living doll.

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